Over many years of guiding, I’ve seen and heard some strange things happen. When one of my guides called in a bull for Tanya by throwing rocks though - well that’s when I thought I’d heard it all. Here’s how it happened, or at least this is the story they told me!
Carrol, the guide, was moose hunting down by Cleaver Lake with hunting couple Tanya and Andy. It was midday when they arrived and decided to climb Cleaver Mountain (we use the term mountain here very loosely). Above Cleaver Lake stands a dominant hill, about 400 feet higher in elevation than the lake. It is shaped like an oversized ramp, long and sloping on one side ending in cliffs that drop away to the lake and meadow. The view from the top of Cleaver Mountain is spectacular looking over hundreds of square miles of forest, moose swamps, and pristine lakes. The view alone is worth the climb, but Carrol took Tanya and Andy up there to get a vantage to spot and call moose on the lake or meadow. Although you can see the lake, it’s too far to shoot across from the hill, but the meadow is right below you.
When they arrived at the top – and I assume they must have been a bit winded from the hike – they sat down while Carrol started moose calling. He’d called for a couple hours without response before they decided to head back down to the lakeshore and settle in for an evening hunt.
As is the case with most people, Andy then suffered an irresistible urge to throw a rock off the cliff. He heaved a basketball sized rock over the edge and watched it crash down the cliff into a few aspen below on the edge of the meadow. No sooner had the rock come to rest than a bull moose began grunting in the timber near the meadow. Carrol, quickly made a cow call, and the bull stopped calling. Carrol called several more times without response.
With nothing to lose, Andy threw another rock. It crashed down the hillside and the bull started grunting again. Again Carrol tried to call it in, but it simply wouldn’t respond to cow calls. This repeated several times until finally Andy started throwing anything not rooted to the ground down the cliff. Clearly the bull was agitated by the crashing noise, and the more rocks Andy threw, the more aggressive the bull was becoming. The moose seemed to be wandering back and forth in the timber on the edge of the meadow just out of sight.
Encouraged by the grunts, Andy, Carrol and Tanya just kept throwing rocks. And the bull moose kept grunting – for over 30 minutes. As I’m sure you can imagine throwing rocks down a cliff for 30 minutes can get pretty exhausting. Finally the bull stepped out into the meadow where they could see him about 250 yards below. It didn’t take long for Tanya to line up and let fly a bullet. The bull dropped in his tracks.
I’ve called in hundreds of bulls over many years of guiding, and I’ve used some pretty strange methods to do it, but this one tops the cake. Calling a bull moose in by throwing rocks, now that’s one for the campfire.